The Audi Environmental Foundation has partnered with nonprofit start-up Nunam in India to create a second life for electric car batteries while improving economic opportunities and safe transportation for the country’s women.
Sourced from Audie’s e-tron test fleet, the used battery modules will be installed in electric rickshaws. The e-rickshaws, powered by second-life batteries, are scheduled to hit the roads in India for the first time in a pilot project in early 2023 when they will be provided to women to transport their goods to market without the need for intermediaries.
While electrically powered rickshaws are not uncommon on India’s roads, they often run on lead-acid batteries, which have a relatively short service life and are disposed of improperly.
Nunam, a non-profit start-up based in Berlin and Bangalore and funded by the Audi Environmental Foundation, developed the three prototype e-rickshaws in collaboration with the training team at Audi’s Neckarsulm, Germany production site.
The old batteries are still extremely powerful,” says Nunam cofounder Prodip Chatterjee. “When used appropriately, second-life batteries can have a huge impact, helping people in challenging life situations earn an income and gain economic independence – everything in a sustainable way.”
Extending the sustainability factor, the batteries will be charged by solar panels. The batteries may even go on to further lives after service in Audi e-tron vehicles and e-rickshaws. In a third step, the batteries’ remaining power might be used for stationary applications such as LED lighting.